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When we think of starting and running our own business, what comes to mind is the process of exhausting our time, creativity and energy to create a product or service that will delight our first customers and potentially disrupt the industry we operate in. We may envision important meetings to discuss new innovative business solutions and putting together effective pitches to investors.
However, running our own business is far more than experiencing the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. It’s not just about working long hours on our big ideas. It’s also about long hours of handling menial tasks that everyone else in our company tend to take for granted – invoicing customers, chasing for payments and paying salaries on time.
If we work for someone else, we often think that these functions are performed by the finance manager. But let’s be real. If you are running your own start-up, there is a high chance that you are also going to be the finance manager (at least for the first few years).
None of us started a company because we enjoy invoicing customers, being chased by suppliers to pay up on time and doing payroll. We rather spend our time and energy on building a sustainable business model, hiring the right people and developing great products and services to sell to our customers.
Thankfully, business owners can make the dull but essential tasks of running a business much more easily via internet banking platforms such as OCBC Velocity. OCBC Velocity is the internet banking platform that OCBC Business Account holders can access to help them with their financial operations.
Beyond just the day-to-day financial operations that can be done through OCBC Velocity, we can also tap on the digital solutions offered by our bank to improve our financial operations while reducing the man-hours required. Ultimately, this will enable us to run our business more successfully.
Editor’s Note: We use OCBC Business Banking Account so all examples below are taken from OCBC Velocity
#1 Create Transaction Templates To Save Time On Processing Regular Payments
Similar to how most of us will save the banking details of beneficiaries whom we regularly transfer money to, we can also save the banking details of suppliers and beneficiaries whom we have to pay regularly (e.g. your landlord).
To do this, create a transaction template to save time on re-entering the same information for every transaction we make. Once we add a new template with all the relevant information required – Payee Bank, Payee Account No. and Payee Name – we can save the template. The information stored can be easily retrieved when we want to make future transfers.
#2 Keep A Close Tab On Monthly Inflow And Outflow
As the founder/CEO of our business, managing our company’s cash flow is one of my biggest responsibilities. Even good companies can fail because of poor cash flow management, so we owe it to ourselves and our employees to manage this well.
Instead of relying on excel spreadsheets that we have to create and manually update to stay relevant, OCBC Velocity offers access to its Business Financial Management features. With this, we can get a quick overview of our business cash inflow/outflow without the pain of doing manual updates each month.
From the chart above, we can view our monthly cash inflow/outflow and determine whether our revenue generated meets our expected financial commitments. If our company has multiple bank accounts under OCBC, the information can be synced to provide a complete overview.
#3 Invoice Management Via OCBC Velocity
One thing we like about OCBC Velocity is that the Business Financial Management features enable us to create invoices to bill our customers. If we’re starting a new business and have yet to prepare invoicing and billing templates, we can use OCBC Velocity to create and manage invoices and bills. This is helpful, especially in the early stage when we don’t have anyone to take charge of financial matters.
Creating an E-invoice via OCBC Velocity, to send to your customer via email or via InvoiceNow, isn’t merely about using a software to make our lives easier. Invoice management is also an important part of running a business. More likely than not, you will spend hours each month trying to track which clients have (or have not) paid you, and to chase them for payments.
By generating your invoices via OCBC Velocity, you can easily track which invoices have not been paid and to follow up easily with gentle reminders This not only saves you time (and frustration), but also allows you to follow up on payments in a professional manner with your clients that will not hinder your business relationships with them.
You can also embed your business PayNow QR code in the invoices you create, making it easy for clients to pay you digitally, as opposed to paying via cheque, an AXS machine or other less convenient methods.
#4 Use The Payroll Management Feature On OCBC Velocity To Batch Send Salary
As someone who has to do monthly payrolls for the past five years, I can understand the sheer amount of time entrepreneurs spend each month on processing and paying employee salaries. While this seems to be a straightforward task, the process of calculating claims, adding to salaries and making the transfer is tedious. Not to mention that we need to do this for every employee, whether they are full-time, part-time or a freelancer.
To make things easier, consider using the Payroll Management Feature to batch send salaries. This allows us to process all our employee salaries at one go. Simply indicate the amount payable to each employee for the month, their emails (to notify them when the salary is paid), the value date, and add them to a batch. After that, approve the batch and all salary payments will be processed by the bank. This reduces the need to approve multiple payments, cheers to one-time wonder.
Another advantage with batch sending salaries is that we can engage a finance executive to help prepare the monthly payroll while we remain the sole authority to approve payments. This eliminates the risk of any unauthorised transactions if we engage someone to prepare payroll.
#5 Keep Track Of Cash Transfer Status With SWIFT Fund Tracking
If we are running a business that regularly pays and receives money overseas, we should already be familiar with SWIFT. As explained by Investopedia, SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communication) is a messaging network used by financial institutions to quickly, accurately and securely send and receive information such as money transfer instruction.
With OCBC Velocity, we can keep track of the status of all incoming and outgoing telegraphic transfers. This keeps us in sight of payment timelines – when to receive payments and when to pay our suppliers. We also have absolute transparency on the fees involved including the processing fees we are paying and the FX rates we are getting.
#6 Collect Payment Digitally With SGQR And PayNow
If we want to avoid delays in receiving our payments, we need to ensure that our customers are given options to make payments conveniently. If we are only offering cash and NETS payment options, we are likely not doing enough.
For example, PayNow for Business is a fund transfer service that enables companies in Singapore to pay and receive Singapore dollar funds instantly by tagging on to the existing PayNow network, which already has over 2.8 million users in Singapore. To register for PayNow for businesses, you can sign up online through your business banking account. Once done, you can paste the QR sticker label if you own physical stores or send customers an invoice QR code. By scanning the QR code, customers can easily pay you via their mobile phones.
Other than accepting payment via PayNow QR, there are also other QR payment options that customers may prefer. This could include DBS PayLah, FavePay, GrabPay, NETS Pay, OCBC Pay Anyone and UOB Mighty. You may want to offer some of these payment options.
To spare your store from becoming cluttered with many QR codes, you can adopt SGQR for free. SGQR combines multiple QR payment options, including PayNow QR, into a single QR label. Your customers only need to look out for the QR label to see which payment options are accepted. This will reduce the clutter at your storefront since you only need to display the SGQR label instead of multiple labels. Through OCBC Velocity, you not only can register for SGQR, but can have it mailed directly to your business address.
Offering multiple payment solutions for customers isn’t just about providing convenience for them. As a business, we also enjoy greater convenience when both our customers and us choose to go cashless. It significantly reduces the need for us to hold large sums of money and small change for our customers. We also save time by reducing trips to the bank to deposit money daily.
Besides convenience, going cashless could make our businesses less susceptible to theft and hence safer. There are also environmental and hygiene benefits when we adopt cashless transactions as opposed to handling notes and coins.
Run Your Business Better By Leveraging On The Right Business Digital Tools
Even if we were to utilise some of the above tips, the heavy responsibility of maintaining smooth financial operations still fall on us. As the founder/CEO, this is an area that we cannot ignore or outsource easily. We have to ensure that our customers and clients can pay us easily and promptly, while making sure that we pay our suppliers and staff on time to maintain a good relationship.
However, by fully leveraging on all the business digital tools made available to us by our internet banking platform, we can reduce the man-hours spent on day-to-day financial operation matters and focus more on other areas of our business.
Need Financing Support During This Period?
SMEs can enjoy extra financing support of up to $3 million through the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme when you apply online with OCBC. Terms and conditions apply.
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